Are You Ready for a Fresh Gust?

Have you ever been in a sailboat when it seemed there was absolutely no breeze? While experienced sailors somehow can catch the wind when there is no wind, amateurs like me often find ourselves dead in the water, going nowhere.

Sailing is such an apt metaphor for life. Winds come and go, blowing from one direction or another. But no matter what winds we encounter, we must resolutely set our sail and rudder toward our desired destination.

Yet this is a mystery in some ways. Even Solomon, known for his great wisdom, admitted he didn’t understand how ships can stay on course, even amid adverse winds (Proverbs 30:18-19).

So here’s a question to ask: Which way are the winds blowing in your  life today? Are you experiencing pleasant breezes or fierce, unrelenting windstorms? Or perhaps you find yourself wearily praying for a “second wind” or a gust to help you get unstuck from your present doldrums.

From time to time, we all need a fresh gust of wind. Whether in our family, our finances, our ministry, or our career, things get pretty stale if no wind is blowing.

Although I’ve tended to shy away from sharing “prophetic” impressions in my blogs, recently I sensed God speaking to me through the metaphor of sailing. Even though the past few months have been fantastic in many ways, I sense that they’ve just gotten me ready for what’s ahead.

As I was praying about these things, I felt that God was saying quite distinctly, “Get ready for a gust  in August!” I took that as very good news. I’ve never liked to drift listlessly in the water, so it was great to hear that a new blast of wind was on the way!

However, I’ve also experienced times in my life when God sent a fresh gust of His Spirit and I wasn’t prepared. A strong breeze does a sailboat no good if the sail isn’t ready and the rudder isn’t set. Even worse, it can capsize the boat if the sailor isn’t paying attention!

Will God truly send “a gust” in Au-gust? We will find out soon! But one thing is for sure: It’s best to be ready.

Sailboats are a lot like eagles, for both rely heavily on wind currents to supply their propulsion. We’re promised in Isaiah 40:31, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

The message here for eagles, sailboats, or Christians is clear: Continually needing new strength and inspiration, we must wait expectantly for God to send a new gust of His divine wind. And based on Isaiah’s promise, we can expect a gust of God’s Spirit anytime, and any month, we’re willing to wait for it.

So now’s the time to prepare our hearts to be ready when it comes!

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

When a Nation Needs Divine Favor

annuit-coeptis-2

The Intriguing Message of “Annuit Coeptis”

I can’t tell you for sure whether America’s Founding Fathers were influenced by the New Age or infiltrated by the Illuminati. But some of the Latin phrases they used are pretty intriguing.

For example, a few years ago I took a look at Annuit Coeptis, which is found on the Great Seal and the back of our dollar bills. This Latin phrase can be translated “He (or Providence) favors our undertakings” or “He has prospered our endeavors.”

Wow. Our Founders somehow realized they never would have succeeded without divine favor. This recognition of the need for God’s favor should be our quest as well—especially in the chaotic times our country now faces.

A psalm attributed to Moses reflects this passion very well:

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17).

So what does it take for a nation to gain—or to lose—the Lord’s favor? Amid the horrors of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln wrestled with this very issue:

We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness…

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or follower of some other political philosophy, I hope you will grasp the power of Lincoln’s message. We need more than better politicians or better policies. We need a spiritual awakening that begins with you and me.

In addition to President Lincoln’s diagnosis of our need for national repentance and revival, the words of nineteenth-century historian Alexis de Tocqueville are amazingly prophetic today:

“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Forgive us, Lord. Heal our land. May Annuit Coeptis be our testimony once again.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

When the Curtain Is Pulled Back

wizard

One of my all-time favorite movie scenes is in The Wizard of Oz. “The great and powerful Oz” was trying to intimidate Dorothy and her friends, and his scare tactics appeared to be working.

But right when all hope seemed lost, something quite providential happened. Dorothy’s dog, Toto, pulled back the curtain Oz was hiding behind. It turned out that despite all the smoke, sounds effects, and bombast, the mighty Oz was actually just a feeble old man.

Shockingly at times, God has been “pulling back the curtain” lately. He’s exposing things for what they really are—and the reality behind the curtain is alarming.

When the Wizard was exposed, he famously said, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

In the same way, today’s embarrassed politicians try to persuade us to “pay no attention” to the video clips, emails, and other evidence we can plainly see with our own eyes. But it’s too late. Once the curtain is pulled back, how can we not pay attention?

Yet for months it seemed that most Americans were paying no attention to the foibles of the candidates they were supporting. As long as a candidate was from their own party, all sins could be forgiven. But now that God is pulling back the curtain, the corruption is simply too blatant to ignore.

When the curtain is pulled back, we see things as they really  are, not just as they appear. The “spin” is gone, the hype looks foolish, and our heroes as seen as mere mortals once again. It’s as if the Piped Piper’s spell is broken, and we wonder how we ever could have been so gullible.

It’s interesting to see how someone responds when their deception is exposed. When Dorothy and her friends discovered that the Wizard was a fraud, he initially reacted in great rage. “Do you presume to criticize the Great Oz, you ungrateful creatures?” he asked indignantly.

Doesn’t this sound like how many politicians act when the curtain is pulled back? They blame their accusers, castigate the news media, and act as if they should be immune from criticism.

When the curtain has been pulled back this year, corruption has been exposed in both political parties and even in revered institutions like the FBI and Department of Justice. And while the news media is sometimes unfairly criticized, it turns out that much of the criticism is deserved.

As God has mercifully pulled back the curtain, the unseen realm has been exposed, and the apostle Paul’s warning in Ephesians 6:10-13 has rung true. Our real battle is more than a clash between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. A demonic spiritual element has been working “behind the curtain” to pull strings of influence in our political affairs.

Thankfully, some of this wizardry is finally being exposed for what it is. I’ve heard that if anyone catches a glimpse at how sausage is made, they will never eat sausage again. Hopefully the same wisdom will apply when the curtain is pulled back on the corruption of our political candidates—how can we ever vote for such a person again?

One of the other great scenes in The Wizard of Oz occurs when Dorothy accidentally pours water on the Wicked Witch of the West, causing her sudden demise. “I’m melting!” she says pathetically as she dissolves on the ground. Dorothy is astonished, not just that the Wicked Witch is dead, but that the Witch’s followers rejoice  when they realize her power has been broken.

I rejoice that the Lord is pulling back the curtain today, because I know that repentance is always a precursor to revival and national restoration.

However, I’m also aware of the sobering fact that the curtain will one day be pulled back on each of us. Today our political candidates are being exposed, but tomorrow it may be you and me. How would you fare if all your conversations were recorded and your emails were leaked to the press? What if the whole world saw what your marriage is like behind closed doors? What would the IRS find if they audited your taxes?

It’s such a great time to search our own hearts and ask the Lord to deal with any sins we’ve tolerated “behind the curtain.”

“Cleanse me from secret faults,” King David prayed (Psalm 19:12). “See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

That’s a great prayer for us as well.

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

When Your Life Grows Stale

potato-chips

I wasn’t prepared for what God spoke to me as I prayed with a friend recently. It was just a single word, with no explanation given or needed.

“STALE.”

I wish I could tell you that this word from God was meant for my friend. But I knew it was an arrow pointed directly at me.

Everyone knows what staleness is like. The cracker or potato chip that once was crisp and tasty is now bland and tasteless, somewhat like eating cardboard.

Ordinarily people simply throw things away that have become stale. “This product is past the expiration date,” they say, “so I’m just going to toss it.”

Dictionaries give lots of interesting descriptions of staleness: dry, hardened, flat, musty, stagnant, boring, tedious, or having lost novelty, interest, or freshness.

Have you ever become stale in some area of your life? Perhaps stale in your relationship with the Lord, your marriage, your career, or your ministry?

Unless the proper precautions are taken, things that once were tasty and appealing can become unpalatable and disgusting as time goes by.

Surely I’m not the only one this has ever happened to.

Thanks to The Message paraphrase, I have a Biblical reference on the subject of staleness. Jesus told the Christians in Laodicea:

“I know you inside and out…You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant (Revelation 3:15-16).

What a sad condition these believers found themselves in. Jesus said they were lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. They were existing at room temperature—pretty much like a corpse!

And when we become lukewarm, we inevitably end up stale and stagnant as well. Life loses its zest, and everything begins to taste like a stale potato chip.

Sometimes stale potato chips, crackers, or nuts can regain freshness when you put them in the oven for a while. In the same way, God has ways to make stale things fresh again. He can bring revival to your spiritual life and new vitality to your marriage, your job, or your dreams.

One day every bit of our staleness will be remedied by the one who says, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). But the good news is that we don’t need to wait until Jesus returns to experience “newness of life” (Romans 6:4, 7:6).

Don’t give up. You haven’t reached your expiration date yet. Today can be the day when your life starts becoming crisp and tasty once again.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

The Only Thing That Will REALLY Make America Great Again

Abraham-Lincoln

It is abundantly clear that no political candidate can “make America great again.” But that doesn’t mean all is lost.

As every student of history knows, America was in crisis in 1863. Despite Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves in January of that year, the Civil War raged on, with no end in sight.

Today America is in crisis again. The symptoms aren’t yet as obvious as in Lincoln’s day, and some people are in denial that anything is wrong. We will never correct our course unless we are willing to acknowledge that our course has been faulty.

While presidential candidates may promise to make America great again, they offer solutions that fail to recognize what made America great in the first place. Their faulty premise is that greatness will return if we have better trade deals, more jobs, a more equitable tax structure, or a stronger military.

We can argue about whether such things are an improvement. But none of them will make America great again.

In stark contrast to what is being promised today, on March 30, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a presidential proclamation “Appointing a Day of National Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.” Calling the nation to repentance and a spiritual awakening, he pointed to our need for God’s grace and favor. In support of this, he paraphrased Psalm 33:12, saying, “Those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord”:

Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord…

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness…

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or follower of some other political philosophy, I hope you will grasp the power of Lincoln’s message. We need more than better politicians or better policies. We need a spiritual awakening that begins with you and me.

In addition to Abraham Lincoln’s diagnosis of our need for national repentance and revival, the words of nineteenth-century historian Alexis de Tocqueville are amazingly prophetic today: “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Forgive us, Lord. We need more than a good President. We need to once again acknowledge You as our King.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Abraham Lincoln’s Prescription to Make America Great Again

As every student of history knows, America was in crisis in 1863. Despite Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves in January of that year, the Civil War raged on, with no end in sight.

Today America is in crisis again, even though the symptoms aren’t yet as obvious. And while presidential candidates promise to “make America great again,” they offer solutions that fail to recognize what made America great in the first place. Their faulty premise is that greatness will return if we have better trade deals, more jobs, a more equitable tax structure, or a stronger military.

We can argue about whether such things are an improvement. But none of them will make America great again.

In stark contrast to what is being promised today, on March 30, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a presidential proclamation “Appointing a Day of National Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.” Calling the nation to repentance and a spiritual awakening, he pointed to our need for God’s grace and favor. In support of this, he paraphrased Psalm 33:12, saying, “Those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord”:

Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord…

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness…

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or follower of some other political philosophy, I hope you will grasp the power of Lincoln’s message. We need more than better politicians or better policies. We need a spiritual awakening that begins with you and me.

In addition to Abraham Lincoln’s diagnosis of our need for national repentance and revival, the words of nineteenth-century historian Alexis de Tocqueville are amazingly prophetic today: “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Forgive us, Lord.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Resurrecting the Dead Things in Your Life

Dry bones

One of the Bible’s most incredible statements is that the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead now lives in us (Romans 8:11). Why then do I meet so many people who have dead areas in their lives, still awaiting Christ’s resurrection life?

I’m convinced that just about everyone has some aspect of their life in need of a resurrection. Dead hopes and dreams. Dead careers. Dead marriages. Dead relationships with parents, kids, or siblings. Or perhaps physical ailments in need of a touch from the resurrected Christ.

Can you relate to this? Is there some area of your life that has become stagnant, dry, or even dead? If so, some powerful lessons to be learned from Ezekiel’s stunning vision of God resurrecting the “dry bones” of the nation of Israel (Ezekiel 37).

As the vision began, Ezekiel found himself “in the midst of a valley” (v. 1). Isn’t it interesting that some of our greatest revelations from God come when we’re in a valley of some kind? We all crave mountaintop experiences, of course, but more often our biggest breakthroughs occur when we’re down in some valley or pit.

In this valley, Ezekiel didn’t just see one dead object. The valley was full of bones,” body parts that once had been alive, but now were dead. In the same way, when we find ourselves sitting in a hopeless place, it’s hard to see signs of life anywhere. Death seems to have a cascading effect, spreading almost like cancer. Perhaps it started with a job loss, but then it turned into marital disharmony, depression, or addiction.

Surrounded by death and dryness on every side, the prophet is asked a very important question: “Can these bones live?” (v. 3) When an area of your life has seemingly died, this is a question you will have to confront. Is there any hope? Is it still possible for resurrection to come?

The temptation, of course, is simply to say, “It’s over. Once something has died, there’s no hope it will ever return to life.” Despite being a man of faith, even Ezekiel had little confidence this story was going to have a happy ending. Instead of boldly proclaiming that the dry bones would surely live, all he can muster is the lame response, “O Lord God, You know” (v. 3).

At this point in the story, God gets Ezekiel involved in the recovery plan, instructing him to “prophesy to these bones” and tell them to “hear the word of the Lord” (v. 4). If you’re ever going to experience the resurrection of a dead area of your life, it’s unlikely God will allow you to remain a passive bystander. No, He will give you an assignment, something you can do to spark the turnaround.

Ezekiel is told to speak to the troublesome circumstances, commanding them to heed God’s Word. That’s a pretty good starting place for us as well. We need to start speaking words of life and hope to the dead things in our life, telling them to line up with the Word of God.

When Ezekiel obeyed the Lord and prophesied, “there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling” (v. 7). It can be a scary thing when our dead things begin to rattle, shake, and make noises! But this is often what happens when God begins to restore dead things to life. Rather than bring us fear, these should be signs of hope.

Next, “the bones came together, bone to bone” (v. 7). There’s power in agreement and relationship (Matthew 18:19-20). God’s plan is to bring us together, but if the devil can keep us separated and isolated, our dryness and defeat will continue unabated.

Finally, the Spirit of God breathed on these dead bones, bringing them back to life. The Israelites had said, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost” (v. 11), but the Lord brought them resurrection and pointed them to a hope-filled future.

Notice that this is not a self-help story. Dead bones don’t come back to life by trying harder. Something supernatural  needs to happen in order to bring dead things back to life.

This great story is about resurrection and hope, but it’s also about purpose. Although the bones had been lifeless and nonfunctional for a long time before, they “stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army” (v. 10). You see, it’s not just about God resurrecting your hopes and dreams so you can have a happier life. It’s about rising up to fulfill your purpose in His mighty army.

Can you hear the Spirit beginning to breathe on you today? It’s not too late for a resurrection!

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

The Power and the Process

I really like the concept of miracles. As a writer for a Christian ministry, I find myself regularly penning articles and books about God’s desire to give “supernatural breakthroughs” to His people in their health, finances, emotions, and relationships.

It’s not entirely hype. I’ve seen breakthroughs like that, and they are awesome. We desperately need to see more of God’s supernatural power manifested in the American church today.

However, like almost any Biblical issue, there’s another side to the story. Yes, God wants to reveal His POWER, but He also wants us to understand that some miracles require a PROCESS.

A simple illustration is the conception, development, and birth of a baby. The whole thing is pretty miraculous, if you ask me. But God doesn’t do it all by Himself. He works through a man and woman through a set process that ultimately leads to a baby being born.

A great quote attributed to St. Augustine says, “Without God, we cannot. But without us, God will not.” In other words, we’re called to be what the apostle Paul described as “God’s partners” (NLT) or “God’s co-workers” (NIV). He will always be faithful to do HIS part, but the outcome of a matter is often dependent on us doing OUR part as well.

Farmers traditionally have had a keen appreciation for this partnership. Perhaps that’s why Jesus told several parables about sowing seeds and trusting God for a fruitful harvest (e.g., see Mark 4). I particularly love the parable about a man who scattered seed on the ground and then went to sleep (vs. 26-29). Isn’t that cool? The man knew he had faithfully done his part, and then he rested in the assurance that God would cause his seeds to “sprout and grow,” even though “he himself does not know how.”

The farmer in this story didn’t have to understand the entire biology of “how” his seeds would be turned into a crop. He simply knew the process would work, if he worked the process.

It’s fascinating to see that although this man’s harvest could be aptly described as a “miracle breakthrough,” it wasn’t instantaneous but gradual and progressive in nature: “first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.”

If you’re like me, you get frustrated by this. Why can’t the harvest come all at once, fully grown right from the beginning? While I’m sure some harvests DO arrive instantly, that’s surely not the norm. Almost always, we have to wait for our seeds to sprout, and then we have to wait some more until they come to maturity.

I’ve noticed that some people are so in love with the concept of the supernatural that they overlook their responsibility to plant any seeds. They haven’t witnessed to anyone, but they seem puzzled that no one is getting saved. Or they beg God to open the door for a new job, even though they haven’t gotten around to sending out their resume yet.

Other people are painstakingly trying to work life’s processes, but they are in desperate need of a supernatural touch from God to energize and multiply their well-intentioned seeds. They’ve forgotten that even after seeds have been planted and watered, GOD must be the one who makes them grow (1 Corinthians 3:6).

In order to reach maximum fruitfulness, we need both God’s power and His processes. The processes may not be glamorous, but they are a necessary part of receiving the Lord’s provision. Apart from Him we can accomplish nothing of lasting value, but as we abide in Him and patiently apply His prescribed processes, we will surely bear much fruit (John 15:5).

 

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

12 Tips for Powerful Prayer Meetings

Sadly, church prayer meetings in the U.S. have largely gone the way of the dinosaur. Even when a church attempts to rouse God’s people to come and pray, the results are often disappointing, both in attendance and in results. However, God wants the church to become “a house of prayer for all nations,” and these 12 tips can help make your prayer meetings exciting!

  1. “We” trumps “I.” Jesus instructed us to pray “OUR Father…” (Matthew 6:9). Ordinarily, things are getting off-track if there is too much use of the word “I” in corporate prayer.
  2. God-centered rather than problem-centered. The Lord’s Prayer, the prayers in Acts and Paul’s epistles, and the other prayers in the Bible sometimes addressed current problems (e.g., the prayer in Acts 4:23-31 regarding persecution). However, the overwhelming them is always God’s power, glory, and sovereignty (e.g., “Hallowed be Your name” and Ephesians 1, “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion”).
  3. Brief trumps long. The Pharisees were known for their lengthy prayers, but Jesus encouraged His disciples not to put their trust in long prayers or “vain repetitions” (Matthew 6:7, Matthew 23:14). Compare the longwinded prayers of the prophets of Baal with the simple, short, and powerful prayer of Elijah (1 Kings 18:22-39).
  4. Focused prayers trump shatter-shot prayers. Too often, people’s prayers are unfocused, covering too many topics and petitions all at once. If we want to have our prayers answered, it’s much better eliminate “fluff” and unnecessary rabbit trails. Specific prayers bring specific answers.
  5. Prayers filled with faith and victory will always trump prayers marked by doubt and defeat. Nothing will bring discouragement to a prayer meeting faster than people who are praying prayers of unbelief.
  6. United prayers trump individualism. Corporate prayer is only powerful when the prayers are offered in one accord (Matthew 18:19-20, Psalm 133, Acts 2:1-2). This is undercut if people’s prayers cannot receive an “Amen” from the rest of the participants. When Jesus described the power unleashed through prayers of agreement, the Greek word for “agree” is symphōneō, from which we get the English word “symphony.”
  7. Spirit-led prayers trump human concerns. Understandably, prayer meetings often attract people who have “burdens” to pray about, whether the burdens are for themselves or for others. But unless these human concerns become motivated by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-30), they will end up just being filled with well-meaning “flesh.”
  8. It’s often helpful to mix elements such as worship and Scripture into prayer meetings. We see this approach in Colossians 3:16-17: God’s Word and “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” etc. Our prayers should not be based on wishful thinking but on God’s promises in His Word. This is not meant to endorse longwinded preaching during our prayer meetings, but rather prayers that are Scripturally based (e.g., Ephesians 1:15-23, 3:14-21).
  9. Prayer meetings should be times of HEARING from God and not just SPEAKING to God. The principle in James 1:19 applies, being “quick to listen and slow to speak” (or pray). This means it’s OK to have times of silence and listening, not feeling it necessary to fill the entire time with speaking/praying. This means waiting on God, not just speaking to Him.
  10. Prayer meetings usually work best when there is a balance between human leadership and free-flowing group involvement. If the hand of human leadership is too strong, people will be intimidated from listening to God or participating. But if there is no leadership at all, the prayers will often go off on tangents and become unfocused. This doesn’t mean the leadership has to be from just one person, but it’s helpful if people know who is “in charge” of sensing God’s direction in the meeting. People who are intercessors or prophetic sometimes distrust structure and time constraints, but the Bible provides numerous examples of God instituting structure before He performed miracles (e.g., breaking up the people into groups before feeding them loaves and fish). However, if there is going to be structure as to the format, time limitations, etc., they should be clearly communicated in advance (e.g., Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 14 about the use of spiritual gifts in public meetings).
  11. Since repentance and revival are objectives of corporate prayer meetings, the elements of 2 Chronicles 7:14 should be kept in mind: humbling ourselves, seeking God’s face, turning from our wicked ways), listening, receiving forgiveness and forgiving anyone who has wronged us.
  12. Just as in our individual prayer lives, it’s helpful to keep an informal record of some of the prayer requests offered, and then the answers received. Keeping track of some of the testimonies will build faith in God’s faithfulness and in the power of prayer.
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Holy Sweat Socks!

“Holy sweat socks, Batman!” Such lines were common on Batman, one of the popular TV shows when I was a teen. At first such a statement would seem like an oxymoron. It’s hard to picture sweat socks that are holy—though they might be holey! And some would say that pairing a word like holy with something as common (and often smelly) as sweat socks is just a sacrilegious spoof.

But perhaps Robin, Batman’s loyal sidekick, was on to something when he referred to sweat socks that were holy.

Zechariah spoke of a day when even the most common things would be holy, set aside for the Lord: “In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, ‘HOLY TO THE LORD.’ And the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the bowls before the altar. And every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the Lord of hosts”  (Zechariah 14:20-21).

What parallel do we have today for bells on horses? How about, “Holy car horns, Batman!”?

And cooking utensils? Maybe Zechariah would have said “holy frying pans” or “holy spatulas.”

One of the greatest errors ever to infect the church is the notion that “holy” things are restricted to special places or times—like relics in a museum or church buildings on Sunday mornings. In contrast, Zechariah predicts a “holy breakout,” a time when the holiness of God would touch all  aspects of life.

So here’s the message: Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the Lord of glory wants to increasingly make Himself known. And that will change everything.

If our holiness doesn’t extend past Sunday mornings, something is terribly wrong. Our homes, neighborhoods, schools, and work places should be holy sanctuaries of God’s presence. Monday  mornings should be as holy as Sunday  mornings.

If Zechariah were writing today, he might even say that our sweat socks should be inscribed with “Holy to the Lord” instead of “Hanes” or “Nike.” Whatever it takes, may the Lord give us a greater hunger for the His holy presence—all the way down to our socks.

How else will revival come? How else will we turn the world upside down for Christ?

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter